Some Democrats Opposed to Reprimanding Wilson
By Paul Kane
Rep. Paul Hodes (D-N.H.) announced today he will not support the resolution reprimanding Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) for accusing President Obama of lying about his proposed health-care legislation, signaling Democratic leaders will lose some votes Tuesday when the roll is called.
Hodes, who is running for Senate in 2010, issued a statement saying that Wilson's shout of "You lie" during Obama's address to Congress last Wednesday was "reckless and disrespectful ... offensive and disturbing". But the intense focus on Wilson has "served as a distraction to the larger goal of providing affordable, portable, high quality health care," Hodes said -- the point of Obama's speech last week.
"In my judgment, it's time to move on and I do not support this resolution. We should not allow Mr. Wilson's reckless conduct to overshadow the need to work together to craft a strong health care reform measure that gives Americans lower costs, more choice, and real control in a fiscally responsible fashion," Hodes said.
Other Democrats have also questioned whether the action would only serve to further make Wilson a hero to conservatives, who have pumped more than $1 million into his campaign coffers since the outburts last week. "I would not make Joe Wilson the martyr he is not," Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) told Politico. "If the House proceeds, they can make the mistake of appearing to want to humiliate a member who has indeed apologized to the president."
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), a former chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, agreed with Hodes' concern that the Wilson resolution may distract from the issue of health care, which Obama has remained focused on himself. "He is determined not to be distracted. That focus is what is going to get us through this. That focus is what the American people will end up respecting and loving about the guy," Cummings said Monday evening in an interview.
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